Cheers for Alan Gross, jeers for the president....
Changing 55 years of policy, laying the foundation for full diplomatic relations, pressing Congress to lift the economic embargo, signalling the bad actors around the world that Team Obama is open for business & prepared to grant generous concessions. . . .
This, despite the fact that in 2008 candidate Obama promised voters the polar opposite:
My policy towards Cuba will be guided by one word, liberty. The road to freedom for all Cubans must begin with justice for Cuba's political prisoners, the right of free speech, a free press, freedom of assembly, and it must lead to elections that are free and fair. That is my commitment.
I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with leverage to present, so do not be confused about this, I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with clear choice. If you take significant steps towards democracy, beginning with with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That is the way to bring about real change in Cuba, through strong, smart, principled diplomacy. We cannot keep playing political games on this issue. It is time for us to finally bring about the changes that will release the enormous potential of the people that are currently trapped in Cuba.
Shades of Syria's Assad, another flip-flop "what red line?" moment. . . .
But that is not the real import of this foreign policy fiasco. It augurs for more such unilateral concessions by a president determined to ignore the verdict of the 2014 election, utterly convinced he is right, contemptuous of his critics, and willing to stretch the bounds of what executive power can accomplish, even risking multiple reversals in federal court.
EXPECT: (1) diplomatic recognition of Iran--even if nuclear talks remain stalled; (2) diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian State along the pre-1967 lines--including a divided Jerusalem; (3) further unilateral strategic nuclear arms cuts; (4) a deal with Russia neutralizing the Baltic nations in return for Russia not invading any eastern Baltic provinces.
Bottom Line. In foreign policy as well as domestic, the president is prepared to accomplish as much of his program by executive diktat as he can. His aim is to create faits accomplis that effectively preclude reversal by subsequent administrations. If he succeeds his terms will prove calamitously consequential.